How we worked with you towards a safe and spam-free Search experience in 2020

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Making sure your Google Search experience is safe and free of spam is always important to us. In 2020, we invested in many innovations to keep Google Search results clean and serve results from high quality websites that you created instead of spammy ones. However, this mission is not one that we can achieve alone and we are excited to have you on this journey with us.

Looking back at last year, here are our initiatives to work with you towards the common goal of providing users with the best Google Search experience possible.

Providing better insights, tools, and resources

Googlebot and spider friend offering insights, tools, and resources

A safer and spam-free web and Google Search ecosystem starts with well-built websites. That’s why we’re constantly working to give you better insights, tools, and resources to make it easier for you to build websites with the best user experience.

Insights

We sent over 140 million messages to site owners in Search Console, an increase from the previous year. This was largely driven by new sites using Search Console, announcements of new features to help site owners during COVID-19, as well as useful insights and notifications about potential issues that may affect their site’s appearance on Search. Out of all the messages, 2.9 millions were related to manual webspam actions. This has decreased from past years as many spam issues have already been taken care of by our algorithms. These were actionable insights—for example, messages sent to owners of sites that got hacked so they can promptly address security issues and minimize disruption and harm to users. Combined with the new user interface for messages, we hope that our messages have become more convenient to receive and more useful for you as site owners.

Tools

The Search Console team worked tirelessly throughout the year to bring you features that can help you detect spam or unsafe behavior on your websites, such as Disavow links tool, a new version of the Crawl stats report, and the SafeSearch filtering report. The team also worked on features that help you build websites with high quality content, which is vital in improving the ecosystem and reducing spam. For example, we graduated Rich Results Test out of beta to better support developers working with exciting Google rich result types such as Events or Job postings.

Resources

We rolled out the Search Console training series so you can make the most out of the tools we provide. While we keep expanding our resources, we understand it can be hard to find things, so we launched Google Search Central and migrated our blogs to centralize our resources. To better support you, we launched a new support channel to report persistent Security issues caused by malware, hack, or harmful downloads, and we have received a number of escalations which we were able to help site owners resolve.

We hope these initiatives make things easier for you on our journey towards a better web together.

Engaging with the community

Website owners continued to get their questions answered and problems fixed in the Search Central Help Community. We saw more than 39,000 posts in 2020. Many of those showed that businesses have been prioritizing online presence more than ever, and we're excited to see that our communities were able to help companies of all sizes improve their online presence or come online for the first time. All of this wouldn’t be possible without our Product Experts who continued to save the day, one question at a time.

We expanded our global community to cover Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Polish, and Turkish in 2020 and now support 17 languages including Korean, Thai and Vietnamese. As product experts (PEs) continue to fuel these online help communities, we also hosted the first virtual Product Expert Summit where PEs from around the world came together for social, educational, and sharing sessions with Google product teams. We are grateful for the PEs and everyone who has contributed to the growth of this supporting community. Drop by if you have a question or to challenge yourself and help out others at the same time.

We were glad that we were able to catch you at five in-person events at the start of 2020. Since then, we haven’t been able to see you in person, but we are always looking for more ways for us to get together. We spoke at more than 50 online events and held more than 80 online office hour sessions. While we can’t host you in-person at our conferences, we made Search Central Lightning Talks and Product summits available at the comfort of your home. We also started the Search Off the Record podcast and the first Virtual Webmaster Unconference. We hope you have as much fun as we do exploring these new ways of getting together and we hope to see you in person again soon.

Our journey towards a safer and spam-free web continues! While our job is never done, we're very grateful for having the opportunity to embark on this journey with you. Thank you and keep in touch on Twitter, YouTube, blog, Community.

Googlebot working with you towards a safer and spam-free web